Thursday, March 4, 2010

Re-Animator: Herbert West's Past Revealed!

Don't ask me why it took so long for me to see Re-Animator because I have no answers for you. I suppose I didn't know enough about the movie for it to warrant a "move to the top of the queue" action, but lately as my life drones depressingly on, I have decided that a deep void within my soul must be filled. I speak of course, of the void- dealing with seeing a woman getting raped by a severed re-animated head. Thankfully the void has been filled and my life can now continue.

To put it lightly, Re-Animator is pure, unadulterated, fantastic enjoyment. Few movies can entertain me and shock me as Re-Animator does and few can cause me to put down my alcoholic beverage in fear that I may vomit. Based very loosely (in the same very loose way that the theme is based on Bernard Hermann's score from Psycho) on H.P. Lovecraft's story "Herbert West-Reanimator, Re-Animator follows the outrageously wacky Herbert West on his quest to make life from death. He has created a serum that allows for the undead to reanimate into bile, blood spitting zombies. Of course, like any good mad scientist, West's intentions go from good to bad to worse as he accidentally kills and reanimates most of his superiors, leaving him with some pretty horrifying results.

Now first things first. I love Herbert West. Was there ever a more perfect character invented in this world? He's so delightfully crazy and extreme in everything that he does it just really makes me laugh and grimace at the same time. At first I was a bit well..peeved about the dead cat in the fridge ordeal--but then I realize that it's all part of Herbert's appeal baby. The man knows no bounds, as he decapitates head doctor's heads, re-animates his roommate's future father in-law, reanimates cats- twice! It's all so ridiculous and amazing. Also, is it wrong that his glasses sort of arouse me? More on him later.

The gore is over the top, and really, really, great. I've never been one to go goo goo over gore, but I'll tell you; The gore, just like Herbert West, is so over the top in the most delicious of all ways. It's both entertaining and grisly which is something a lot of movies lack these days. The gore was also of course, unique. Bone saws ripping through chests, intestines turning into gigantic worms, dead bodies being all gross and naked. OH and dead penis's and boobs flapping around all over the place? This movie truly has it all.

I will admit that I was eagerly anticipating the oral sex scene- if only for the sheer ridiculousness/ partial turned on factor and....yeah I mean....come on guys it was cut short! But it was still the most agonizing and torturous few minutes of my movie watching career. I really can't think of any worse way to be violated and raped. Honestly, pretty much everything that happened throughout this movie elicited a bug eyes action from me. From dead cats in the fridge, to the budget being so low at that college that dead bodies had to be put in trash bags, to security guards reading porn...heh. No but seriously everything was so wonderfully original (except the music) and fabulous that my head almost exploded. Twice.

Now onto the moment you've all been waiting for. A lot of people have often wondered I'm sure, why Herbert West is the way he is. Did he have a scarring childhood? Swallow some paint chips? Watch one too many episodes of Bill Nye the Science Guy? Perhaps. But the key to solving this great mystery lies in Herbert West's very face. You see, I realized that he looked very familiar to me and so I started visualizing certain characters in order to figure out who exactly he was reminding me of.

Stephen Colbert?

No no definitely not.

Poltergeist guy who rips off his face?

Maybe....that would explain his seemingly traumatic past.

And then it hit me. Who had one of the most traumatic pasts of all time???

Nicky Szalinski!

Not only does he look EXACTLY like a young Herbert West would look like- but he was also imagined by the mind of Stuart Gordon! It's too perfect to ignore. See, his father was a kooky scientist as well, and due to an experiment gone sort of wrong- Nick was traumatized in the form of giant bees, giant bugs, and almost drowning in a bowl of Cheerios! The only possible explanation for Herbert West's craziness is that he was scarred for life when he was shrunk to minuscule proportions at the tender age of 12 or so by his equally kooky father! And if you really wanted to get into his psychosis, I suppose you could analyze how seeing his baby brother blown up to gigantic proportions impacted him--but I really only saw that movie once so I can't comment. Anyways I don't know about you but I'm personally extremely THRILLED to have figured out one of mankind's most asked questions. You can thank me later.


Hhhhh said...

I've not seen Re-Animator either... but I HAVE seen Re-Penetrator.
There's an idea for a follow-up review. (:

the jaded viewer said...

Awesome review Andre...and possible solid theory..put in Wikipedia immediately and that will make it 100% true!

forestofthedead said...

Great review and theory!

Matt-suzaka said...

Re-Animator is great and is THE definition of cult classic in every way, shape, and form. It's a childhood favorite of mine and I'm glad you finally got to see it. Also, I met Combs and have my special edition of Re-Animator signed!

R.D. Penning said...

I think the important thing to remember is Jeffrey Combs is going to return to his role as Herbert West in House of Re-Animator (2010)where the White House asks him to come bring people back to life. William H. Macy is going to play the President, and George Wendt is going to play the Vice President!!! Great review Andre

Franco Macabro said...

Defenetly one of my all time favorites. I love how crazy the ending is, zombies left and Herbert West is such a memorable character. Defenetly one of Stuart Gordons best movies...only to be topped by Stuart Gordons From Beyond. Ever seen that one? Highly recommend From Beyond if you havent seen it yet.

Its even more over the top then this one, more sexual, gorier, and its also based on Lovecraft. After you see it, let me know which of the two you think is best.

Andre said...

From Beyond is available on Instant Watch, so I will be seeing it very soon, I will of course let you know!

B-Sol said...

I also saw this for the very first time (I do believe on the very same day you did!) and it was just as enjoyable as I'd always heard it was. It had been a favorite of my dad's since I was a kid, but for some reason I just never got around to it.

It's a whole lot of fun, but i can't really agree with those who call it a horror comedy. Fun and outrageous, yes? But I wouldn't really call it funny. It is, however, amazing, and Jeffrey Combs gives Bruce Campbell a run for his money as coolest '80s cult horror actor.

Andre said...

B-Sol Re-animator is hilarious! The line that Herbert says after the cat is found in the fridge, "what was I suppose to do leave a note, "cat dead, details later"? Love it. It's definitely more of an understated, American Werewolf in London kind of humor rather than say, Zombieland.

B-Sol said...

OK, that cat line was definitely a LOL moment, I'll give you that! It does have some funny/amusing lines, I just don't think I can call it a full-on horror comedy, like, say Return of the Living Dead. This was more a regular horror movie with some funny bits. If that makes sense.

Chris H said...

Great Great Great write up about one of my favorites ever!
I saw this at a slumber party in 4th grade! I've seen it many times since. I also appreciate the sequels even though they could have used Stuart Gordon's deft hand. You'll love From Beyond, too. All of Gordon's stuff is worth checking especially Dolls, Castlefreak, and Dagon.